There is some oddness, a sense of remoteness that comes up when technology and Africa are used in the same sentence. It is like thinking of a rainforest at the heart of the Sahara or Kalahari Desert. However, at the heart of Nairobi, Kenya, a team of software developers, engineers, and technologists are rewriting the story of Africa from remoteness and oddness to possibilities. BRCK is a device seeking to solve problems of electricity, internet connections, problems that are eminent in both rural and urban areas in Africa.
Availability of reliable, low-cost energy is the cornerstone of economic development and is a primary limiting factor for many developing countries. We share knowledge on an energy sector which is undergoing massive change with new technologies that will provide cheaper, more accessible and cleaner energy.
Huge dams have been touted as effective in providing drinking and irrigation water, all cheaply and sustainably. Recent studies reveal otherwise as most of these projects in sub-Sahara turn out to be more costly than planned. A recent study has quantified claims that large dams also lead to more malaria being spread in the sub-Saharan, thus adding more weight to concerns on whether these projects should be pursued actively in favor of the alternatives.
Solar power is about more than lighting your home… Regular access to hot water for bathing, cooking, and cleaning is something that most of us in the Western world take for granted. However, people in rural communities throughout the world struggle to safely and economically heat their water on a regular basis. Solar hot water systems offer a sustainable and low cost solution to this widespread issue, with the potential to bring hot water to those who do not currently have it.
Dilla, a city 361 km South of Addis Ababa, is one of the pivotal areas of coffee production in Ethiopia, with Ethiopia being among the greatest coffee producers in the world. With this, comes a number of challenges such as establishing reliable energy sources for coffee processing and dealing with waste by-products. In July 2011, a plan was resurrected that had laid idle for over 20 years began, which was to create the first Ethiopian Briquette Factory. This was a move meant to offer an important firewood alternative and also a way of managing coffee husks wastes, all this in the light of urbanization and population growth.
One of the largest impedement towards implementation of renewable energy in reducing emissions is their high cost. Reduction of costs of utility-scale renewable energy projects is important towards increasing the deployment and acceptability of solar and wind power projects. Renewable energy auctions, technology innovation and feed-in-tariffs are some of the methods suggested for the future and which have tried before to reduce installation and final consumer costs.
Long Sokhon is a small-scale farmer in Cambodia’s Pursat Province. Like 85% of Cambodians, she makes a modest living off the land. She used to cook for her family of eight over a wood-chip fire by night. Sokhon lived the way most do in rural Cambodia—one of the poorest countries in South East Asia with a population of 15.8 million. Then, she was given the opportunity to have a 2,000 litre slate-grey tank installed in the vegetable patch. Long Sokhon was chosen as part of a biodigester pilot project run by Engineers Without Borders Australia and Live & Learn Environmental Education.
Biofuels can help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, reduce over dependence on fossil fuels and increase energy security. However, this alternative must be pursued with care to reduce possibility of environmental degradation, deforestation, food shortages and high food prices. One way is to pursue second generation feedstocks. Limiting use of some food crops in biofuel production and mapping out areas for biofuel crop production can also prove helpful.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) launched the Green Bond Impact Report in June 2015, with detailed information about the environment and social results expected from projects supported by its green bonds. The report provides an update on the progress of the 100 green bonds (US$8.4 billion) that have been issued to support projects aiming for low carbon and climate-ready growth in IBRD’s member countries.
Most developing countries lack enough power supply in rural areas for at least the basic usage such as lighting, phone charging, TV, radio, etc. Though many African countries are discovering the potential that they have by being positioned in a great sunny region, and governments are now capitalizing on the development of renewable energy projects, and the corporate sector has realized the latent business opportunities and they can make a positive impact to different communities. The government of Rwanda has invested a lot in solar power projects to help the community living in remote areas to access power.
Home solar kits remain an important strategy in powering rural homes given the challenges of distributing power via grids. With rural areas characterized by low income groups and scarcely dispersed populations, grid power cannot reach everyone. Kenya will be banking on additional home solar kits to connect more homes as announced in the just concluded 6th Annual Global Economic Summit in Nairobi.